Students' conflicting attitudes towards games as a vehicle for learning mathematics: A methodological dilemma
L. Bragg. Mathematics education research journal19 (1):
Mathematics games are widely employed in school classrooms for such reasons as a
reward for early finishers or to enhance students’ attitude towards mathematics.
During a four week period, a total of 222 Grade 5 and 6 (9 to 12 years old) children
from Melbourne, Australia, were taught multiplication and division of decimal
numbers using calculator games or rich mathematical activities. Likert scale surveys
of the children’s attitudes towards games as a vehicle for learning mathematics
revealed unexpectedly high proportions of negative attitudes at the conclusion of the
research. In contrast, student interview data revealed positive associations between
games and mathematical learning. This paper reports on the methodological
dilemma of resultant conflicting attitudinal data related to game-playing. Concerns
arising from the divergence in the results are raised in this paper. Implications based
on the experience of this study may inform educational researchers about future
methodological choices involving attitudinal research.